No. 5 Iowa State passes Michigan State 80-49

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephanie Soares tied her season-high with 23 points and added 11 rebounds and six blocks as No. 5 Iowa State rolled past Michigan State 80-49 Thursday night in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational.

Soares, a 6-foot-6 transfer from The Master’s where she was a two-time NAIA National Player of the Year, dominated the interior, making 10 of 14 shots.

Emily Ryan added 17 points and eight assists, and the Cyclones cruised despite a poor night of shooting by leading scorer Ashley Joens, the Big 12 preseason player of the year. Joens averaged 25.5 points, but only managed eight.

Iowa State (5-0) began the week ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 31, 2001, when the program reached its highest ranking in school history at No. 4. The Cyclones will have a chance to make a case for a higher ranking with a top-10 game against North Carolina in the championship game on Sunday.

DeeDee Hagemann led Michigan State (6-1) with 14 points and Kamaria McDaniel added 11. The Spartans played without top scorer Matilda Ekh, who was in her native Sweden due to national team commitments. The school expects her to be back with the team in time for Sunday’s third place game. Ekh scores an average of 11.2 points.

The Cyclones were dominant in the first half, taking a 37-17 halftime lead. Michigan State struggled shooting in the first half, making only 6 of 30 shots and going almost the last seven minutes of the second quarter without a basket made. Michigan State missed its first 12 three-point attempts before Stephanie Visscher hit the team’s first in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

BIG PHOTO

Iowa State: The Cyclones showed they can be more than just Joens offensively. Nine of 12 Iowa State players to see time score. Joens led the Cyclones in scoring in three of four games this season.

State of Michigan: The Spartans had shot 49% from the field in their first six games, so the poor shooting night was an outlier that could be more indicative of the quality of the opposing team. Not having Ekh was a big loss with her team-leading 18 three-pointers on the season.

NEXT ONE

Iowa State: The Cyclones face No. 8 North Carolina in the championship game.

Michigan State: The Spartans will face No. 18 Oregon in the game for third place on Sunday.

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AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter .com/AP_Top25

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